NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) has been a long-time champion of a solution to provide OHIP coverage for prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing for prostate cancer when referred by a healthcare provider. Today his important legislation failed to move forward after conservative members voted against it.
“Frankly I’m disappointed, but not surprised—this has consistently been the tone of this government when it comes to public health care,” said Gates. “Today, we came forward with an easy solution to this health care issue and they said no. They are clearly more interested in supporting private, out-of-pocket health care delivery. Early detection of prostate cancer is an important prevention tool and its incredibly cruel for this government to not support PSA test coverage.”
In November 2022, Gates re-tabled his private member’s bill to extend OHIP coverage of prostate cancer screening under any circumstance. The bill was tabled for the first time in 2019, and again in 2020 when it received all-party support. At the time, the Ford’s Conservatives stalled the Bill’s momentum.
“We have a crisis in our health care system,” said Gates. “We need to look for things that can save money, save resources, relieve some of the pressure on health care workers, and ultimately save lives. It’s clear this government doesn’t care about those goals—they care about expanding health care delivery into private hands.”
It is estimated that in Canada in 2022, 24,600 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 4,600 men will die from prostate cancer. The PSA test is currently covered by 8 other provinces, and early detection survival rates are nearly 100 percent for five years.
Currently, the cost of a private PSA test is $35. The cost of the test under OHIP is around $9.70 and would cost the province $3 million annually.
Gates’ motion is supported by the Canadian Cancer Society.
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